The Fire Monster 

Anoka-Ramsey student and his family’s life are devastated by a house fire. 

Michael Nguyen, Staff writer

AnokaRamsey student Josh Melendez, his wife Amanda, and kids Ella, 4, and Connor, 2, endured a traumatic and terrifying experience on Feb. 16. Melendez woke up to his wife yelling his name as the house they had been renting since September had caught fire. 

Melendez ran into the kitchen to see the microwave above the stove completely melted. He grabbed the kids and brought them outside. He then ran to the neighbors to call 911 before running back inside the home to try to save their three pets and put out the fire.

Josh Melendez’s kitchen after the fire. Photo courtesy of Josh Melendez

 The firefighters rescued one of their dogs while their other dog went missing. The familys dog was later found, but their cat did not survive the fire. 

Melendez jumped out of the bedroom window wearing only his sweatpants. Melendez and his wife both suffered from smoke inhalation. Melendez had frostbite on both of his feet. 

Its been nearly two weeks since that terrifying Saturday morning. Melendez is still experiencing pain walking due to the frostbite. The events of that night have turned this familys life upside down. 

While Melendez and his family may be fine physically, the effects of the night still linger. Melendezs two young children have been through a terrifying experience. 

My daughter is the person taking this the hardest. She is still talking about the fire monster and how mommy and daddy saved her,Melendez said.

Josh Melendez and his daughter Ella. Photo courtesy of Josh Melendez.

Ive been having a hard time sleeping, sometimes I wake up just sweating,Melendez said.  

The Melendezs are currently staying with a friend in Apple Valley. Melendez is very happy to have friends that have been amazing through this experience. The Melendez family was left with nothing after the fire. All of their things were lost in the fire, their furniture: TV, clothes and all the kids toys. 

This was our first time renting, we never even considered getting renters insurance,” stated Melendez. 

The fire also burned up all of Melendezs school items. Melendez decided to go back to college using his GI bill for being a veteran. Melendez was in the navy from 2006 to 2010. He plans on getting a degree in environmental science. Due to the fire, he was unable to continue at Anoka-Ramsey this semester, but plans to go back in the fall. 

Melendez is currently waiting to hear back from veteran organizations that hopefully can help his family find a new place.  

 I just want a place of our own again. Its so nice of our friends to help us out, but its just not a place of our own. My daughter keeps asking when do we get to go home, I just tell her that we are having a long sleepover,” said Melendez. 

 GoFundMe has been started by a friend of the family for those that would like to help this family devastated by this fire.